Henry Hendricks 2013


Henry Hendricks (nicknamed Harry) was born in the Western Cape in 1924. He started his teaching career in Colesberg and later joined the staff of Harold Cressy High School in Cape Town where he soon became the Vice-Principal.

In 1962, Hendricks became Principal of John Bisseker High School in East London where he remained until the end of 1963. From 1964 to 1978, he was principal of Uitenhage High School (UHS) where he made his greatest impact and left lasting footprints on different aspects of community life.

His term of office at UHS coincided with a period of the harshest repression and implementation of draconian laws. Harry refused to yield to the unreasonable demands and unethical conduct of school inspectors who subjected the school to regular inspections. It was no surprise that he was one of the first principals who was interrogated by the Special Branch during the 1976 student uprisings.

Starting a new school – Uitenhage High School - in unfamiliar territory comes with a fair number of challenges and when it happens to be a school in the oppressed community, the challenges mount and become even more daunting. Come January 1964, Harry was faced with incomplete structures, insufficient school furniture and equipment, and requisitions that had yet not been delivered. A lack of properly qualified assistant teachers and animosity from a certain sector of the local community who preferred a headmaster from their own ranks, were some of the challenges he faced.

In 1978 he was appointed as the Rector of the Bellville College of Education where he was as much revered as he was as Principal of Uitenhage High School. At Uitenhage's bi-centennial celebrations, he was nominated as an educator to be honoured, despite the relatively short period he served that community.

Harry was largely instrumental in reviving the ailing Eastern Province Senior Schools' Sports Union (EPSSSU) that organised sport for schools in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth as well as schools in Humansdorp and Uitenhage. During the 1970s, the EPSSSU became a force in sport tournaments organised by the South African Senior Schools' Sports Association (SASSSA). Hendricks also served as President of the EPSSSU and the South African Senior Schools' Sports Association (SASSSA) for a number of years. Many Uitenhage children were for the first time afforded the opportunity of travelling beyond the borders of their own town and province to SASSSA tournaments in different parts of the country. In addition, he was the President of the South African Athletics Board from its inception in 1946 until unification in 1993. He also held various positions in the SA Swimming Federation (Saswif) which later merged with another non-racial swimming body to form the Amateur Swimming Association of SA (ASASA). He held various positions in the South African Council on Sport (SACOS) and was highly regarded for the work that he did. Locally, he was involved in the Uitenhage Sports Board as Vice-Chairperson and Chairperson. He served the Board from 1965 until he left for Cape Town in 1978.

He passed away in 2002.  

In recognition of his substantial contribution in advancing the frontiers of scholarly knowledge through teaching and social engagement, and rendering a service of excellence and distinction in wider society, especially in leadership, politics and education, it is an honour for NMMU to confer the degree of Doctor of Education (honoris causa) (posthumous) on Henry Charles Clementson Hendricks.